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UN Officials Condemn Attempted Coup In Dr Congo


UN Officials Condemn Attempted Coup In Dr Congo

As the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) was being normalized after an attempted coup early today in its capital, United Nations officials condemned the uprising and pledged to help the country’s transitional political process.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged all parties to show their cohesion and their determination to bring the transition to a successful conclusion. In a statement released by his spokesman, Mr. Annan reaffirmed that the UN would assist the DRC’s Government of National Unity and Transition to fulfill the Global and All-inclusive agreement and called on all partners in the Government to work together cooperatively and constructively.

The UN force in the country (MONUC) joined in condemning the putsch by Major Eric Lenge, one of President Joseph Kabila’s guards. The MONUC chief rejected any negotiation with the Major or his followers and said they should lay down their arms immediately.

MONUC, which has reinforced its security cordon around the President and his Vice-Presidents, as well as its patrols in Kinshasa, remains in close contact with the Transitional Government in the hope that the rebels could be arrested and brought to justice as soon as possible.

The mission was also watching a situation in which a group of Mayi Mayi militia fighters appeared to be in a vise formed by the DRC national forces on DRC territory and Burundian national forces on their side of the border.

Deploring the coup attempt, the International Committee Monitoring the Transition reiterated its determination to see the peace process, including the reform of the security sector, through to elections.

The committee comprises nations and intergovernmental organizations. They are the permanent members of the Security Council – China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States – as well as the African Union, Angola, Belgium, the European Union, Canada, Gabon, MONUC and Zambia.

Meanwhile, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said 50 civilians were killed and innumerable people raped in the uprising in Bukavu that started on 26 May and climaxed on 2 June when rebel forces briefly seized the town.

“International humanitarian law obliges warring parties to protect civilians from harm. Civilians cannot be targeted for rape or murder,” said Under-Secretary-General Jan Egeland, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator.

With the suspension of humanitarian programmes in food distribution, health care, water supplies, education and protection for some 3.3 million people in eastern DRC, humanitarian workers could not carry out their efforts to combat cholera in Katanga province, making an outbreak of the disease more likely, he said.

Mr. Egeland appealed to donors to provide urgent funding to the organizations that lost offices, vehicles and equipment in the massive looting throughout DRC.

Because of the fighting in Bukavu, thousands of Congolese refugees at risk of being attacked, as well as those who said they had yielded to panic, fled to neighbouring Rwanda and Burundi. The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) today said 2,800 people have arrived in south-western Rwanda and a nearly equal number in Burundi.

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